Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dynamo Joe Comic Book Series First Comics For The Stars Without Numbers rpg Part One

My love affair with all things giant robot can be traced back into the mists of time to the 1970's and 'Gee Force' on the afternoons on channel 4 out of New York. Because of Shogun Warrior crazy from the Marvel comics and the toy tie in along with all things Godzilla. I was pretty much primed for when the first airing of 'Robotech' and everything Japaneseanimation.
  Between the Battletech books, first offerings of Mekton Zeta in the pages of Dragon magazine, then the Gamma World stuff in Aries(also in Dragon) all things giant robot were here in my psyche to stay.
Which also meant that Robotech comics from Comico were always in my comic shop subscription box. Then came 'Dynamo Joe' from First Comics. For two solid years and a bunch of backups. Joe helped fill the giant robot/space opera need.
According to Wiki: 

"'Dynamo Joe was a comic book series published by First Comics from 1986–1988. Created, plotted and drawn by Doug Rice, it was scripted first by John Ostrander then by Phil FoglioBen Dunn sometimes filled in for Rice on the art" 

I first read about Joe as a backup feature in Mars another First Comics publication.
The quick overview :
 The series occurred in the future, involving a war in which three star-faring civilizations are being invaded by the alien and seemingly mindless Mellenares, huge green killing machines traveling in a straight line and destroying everything in their path. The brunt of the human defenses are giant, fusion-powered robots (“battle suits”) called “Dynamo Class Robosoldiers” and crewed by living individuals. These battle suits can be configured for either planetary or space combat, and contain or use a wide variety of weaponry. Dynamo Joe focuses on the crew of one such suit: Imperium soldier Elanian Daro and Tavitan (humanoid feline) mechanic Pomru Purrwakkawakka, and their critical contributions to the war effort. Dynamo Joe ranged in tone from action-packed space opera to slapstick humor.

 Rice was a fan of Japanese giant robot adventures, such as Robotech, and the battle suits were designed in that spirit.
What made the series different from the norm were the characters. The fact that both of the main characters actually had a stake in both each in a weird buddy relationship helped to propel the story right along. The giant robo action was there as well right along side of it. 
The Characters according to Wiki : 

Elanian Daro

'Elanian Daro was once a captain in the Imperium Officer Corp, and for some undisclosed reason was busted down to the rank of sergeant. It is known that the Magna Khan himself takes personal interest in Elanian Daro and considers him to be of great value. When busted out of the Imperium military, he was quickly snatched up by the Earth forces and attained the rank of Over Sergeant and placed in a command position. Elanian once held the temporary rank of general when the asteroid used for a command base was taken over by the “dreamers” that had been taken over by the Mellenares. Daro came to be a personal friend of the base commander, who apparently had more data on Daro than he himself did.
Daro had a sister who was consort to the Imperium prince that oversaw the Imperium fleet. She was killed when the prince attempted to overthrow the Magna Khan.'

Pomru Purrwakkawakka

Pomru Purrwakkawakka was given great leniency in modifying the Dynamo Joe battlesuit and was known for pilfering objects and performing frequent modifications, despite the fact that he had clearance to nearly anything he wanted. He figured it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission—he also considered petty larceny to be part of the “fun” involved. Dynamo Joe was the most advanced robosoldier suit on the front line as a result of his ongoing upgrades, many of which were derived from observing/studying the extra-dimensional, sentient battlesuit “Wolf-1,” which was operated by a mercenary from the pan-dimensional city of Cynosure.

Pomru was simply an awesome character. Weird, more then slightly alien and completely off the wall. Back about '89 I had a cat called Pomru. 

The Forces of the Dynamo Joe Universe According To Wiki :
Earth Force 

'The Earth-based human culture was delineated by Earth-colonized worlds, held together by interstellar travel utilizing hyperspace, and the “Blood Nations,” consisting of the Native American diaspora to the stars. The Blood Nations appeared to generally engage in constant warfare and piracy, while the colonized worlds reflected various ethnic settlements and were preyed upon by the Blood Nations.
Previous to the war with the Mellenares, the Earth military forces were engaged with anti-piracy operations against various Blood Nation factions. Upon contact with the planet eating Mellenares the Blood Nations reached an uneasy alliance with the Earth military forces and joined in combat against the mutual enemy.'

The Earth Forces always seemed like they were ported over from Traveler first or second edition. They're technology was relatively high but they seemed very uneasy within their own military structure. They seemed to lean a bit to heavily on the mercenary forces they employed. A fourth or fifth level technological society in  Stars Without Number. 

The Imperium Forces 

The Imperium is ruled by the Magna Khan, who left Earth with his harem in a starship for parts unknown in the 22nd century. The Magna Khan is immortal and uses his various princes and princesses to be his imperial government. As only the Magna Khan is immortal, it is the goal of each citizen to become so famous that the Magna Khan will remember his name, thus sharing in his immortality. Imperium subjects are commanded to be fit both mentally and physically - there are no fat or stupid Imperium citizens. Additionally, the Khan is involved in some sort of breeding/genetics program that appears to involve Elanian Daro, who happens to resemble the Magna Khan a great deal.
The Imperium is extremely advanced in technology and culture, focusing greatly on martial arts training. Imperium citizens are physically distinguished by their hair color (blue, green, white, etc.) and their eyebrows, which are forked as they approach the temple.
At the time when Dynamo Joe was out I was into Grendel(all right Is still I'm)  and the forces of the Imperium seemed the next logical step for the empire of the Grendel Khan to me. The Imperium again was mostly a decadent fifth level society in Stars Without Number. 

Tavitan culture

The Tavitans are a matriarchial society ruled by a “Great Mother.” They are also known for some psychic ability as it was a vision by a Tavitan that foretold of the coming of the Mellenares. Young Tavitans are known to be excitable and seek adventure, and it was not unusual for them to go out into the world/galaxy and sow their wild oats before settling down into married life.
Tavitans place great trust in their instincts and are natural mechanics, engineers, and tinkerers, if not great soldiers. The younger they are, the less reliable, patient, and disciplined they tend to be.
The Tavitan Homeworld, Londree, orbits (ironically enough) the “Dog Star,” Sirius, in a system of planets also threatened by the Mellenares advance. As a species, the Tavitans are nocturnal, so the culture works “the night-shift,” which is something off-worlders who visit Londree find difficult to adjust to.
Apart from being superb engineers (even in null-gravity), other Tavitans in the Alliance have been given duties in Intelligence and Research & Development. Their codes are impenetrable, and they always think “outside-the-box” when designing new hardware. Pvt. Pomru is part of a small contingent of male Tavitans actually part of integrated forward combat units, like the members of the “Lafyette Escadrille” of WWI on Earth.
The Tavitans could be used whole cloth into the Stars Without Number Game. They'd fit right in with the background with little to no problems at all.

Using Dynamo Joe In Stars Without Numbers 

In GrimJack Number #30 Dynamo Joe makes an appearance and rocks the world of the main character. 

Elanian Daro and Pomru Purrwakkawakka appear with their famous namesake and begin wrecking lots of property. The whole episode is forgotten except by GrimJack himself. Dynamo Joe's connection to First Comics Cynosure runs very deep indeed. 

Given the fact that these suits have deep ties to the city that sits in the center of the multiverse its not hard to imagine that there are a few of these suits sitting in the scrap yards of the city  or in a museum someplace.
Given the following :

'The brunt of the human defenses are giant, fusion-powered robots (“battle suits”) called “Dynamo Class Robosoldiers” and crewed by living individuals. These battle suits can be configured for either planetary or space combat, and contain or use a wide variety of weaponry.'

 It is not unreasonable to assume that the PC's might need to recover a Dynamo at some point. Either from the Cynosaure University, from the art collection of some pan dimensional warlord, the back end of some antique weapons dealer or many others. There might be some of these suits floating out in the universe still crewed by their dead pilots waiting for some group of adventurers to find them. 

 In closing this was a great series hardly remembered by many comics fans. The three way war, the aliens, the Earth forces, and the background make perfect fodder for a Stars Without Numbers Game!
This post is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing here is challenge to the trademark or copyright of the owners. This is simply me recounting a very solid comic book series. 

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